Make An Immediate Impact at Michigan
James V. Dowd
On paper, last season's version of the Michigan
Wolverines seemed unbeatable. With four first-round NHL
Draft picks and a handful of other skaters with pro-level
potential, it seemed as though they had all the skill in
the world. And once this season's NHL training camps opened,
it became more apparent just how talented last year's squad
was, with Jack Johnson and Andrew Cogliano on opening-night
rosters and T.J. Hensick and Matt Hunwick ready to step
into NHL lineups at any time. But once the season was complete,
the Wolverines had produced a familiar result — a
disappointing exit from the NCAA Tournament, this time at
the hands of North Dakota in the first round.
captain Kevin Porter has three goals in four games
This year, the play of junior goaltender Billy
Sauer, or that of freshmen Bryan Hogan or Shawn Hunwick
after having replaced him, will ultimately determine how
far the Wolverines can go. But the second big question mark
hovering over Ann Arbor was just how well this year's crop
of freshmen, 12 in all — the largest class in coach
Red Berenson's 24 year tenure at Michigan — could
contribute offensively to make up for the loss of Cogliano,
Johnson and Hensick.
Now four games into the season, the new kids
on the block have contributed admirably, with seven of the
ten skaters notching at least a point thus far. This wealth
of contributions from the freshman class has been a key
cog in Michigan's wheel as they have opened 3-1-0 in four
road games, with just a one-goal loss to Minnesota two weeks
While these contributions have certainly given
Berenson and his staff a reason to believe in the newcomers,
perhaps the most important result of this early success
is the rookies' faith in themselves.
"(The Minnesota game) told us that with
12 freshmen, a lot of teams are going to try to pick on
us," freshman forward Matt Rust, said to reporters
in post-game interviews. "It's all about working hard.
I think that, if we stick together as a team, there is no
limit for us."
Rust, who scored two goals in the loss, was
just one freshman star in the Icebreaker Tournament. One
night earlier, freshman Louie Caporusso won a hard-fought
game against Boston College with an overtime marker when
he forced an Eagles' turnover in front of their own net.
And this past weekend in Marquette, while
senior captain Kevin Porter led the way with two goals in
a 3-1 victory on Friday night, freshman Aaron Palushaj earned
an assist on both of Porter's goals and rookie Carl Hagelin,
who joined the Wolverines all the way from Sweden this season,
iced the game with a late goal.
One night later, five Michigan freshmen found
their way to the score sheet in a 4-3 victory which included
the first goal of freshman Ben Winnett's career.
Although the more experienced Wolverines give
a lot of credit to the newcomers for this early season spark,
the freshmen realize that the ability of Kevin Porter and
Chad Kolarik draw the attention of opposing defenders, and
the hustle of older role players opens up space for them.
"I think we have the combination of everything,"
Caporusso said in post-game interviews after skating with
Hagelin and junior Travis Turnbull against Boston College.
"Carl brings a lot of speed and a lot of talent to
the line. Turnbull brings solid play, he's a hard worker
who will run over anybody. I think I bring my playmaking
ability. Any one of these guys can finish the puck …
they bury it and support each other all over the ice."
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE CCHA
Michigan State Still Searching:
After falling in an ugly fashion to North Dakota to open
their season one week earlier, the Michigan State Spartans
were happy to walk away with a sweep of Colgate, in a series
which included a special moment in Michigan State history.
Before Friday night's game, the Spartans
raised the banner celebrating last April's national championship.
But while that was an emotional moment for the returning
players and an inspirational one for the new ones on board,
senior Bryan Lerg realizes that the team must move on from
the shadows of the championship quickly.
"I thought it was good, but you've got
to seal it up," Lerg said at a post-game press conference.
"We've got to put that behind us. We can't live off
of it this entire year because if we do, we're not going
While the Spartans walked away with two victories,
both were rough around the edges. According to The State
News, Michigan State turned the puck over up to 100
times during the weekend series up from a typical 60.
The Spartans also committed eight penalties
in each of the games, something coach Rick Comley knows
will not work as the league schedule begins. Comley did
note that his team was still strong enough to come out on
top despite the deficiencies.
"There were a lot of sloppy penalties,"
Comley said in his post-game press conference. "It's
not because it's a rough game, but that disrupted everything.
I thought it was a tough game mentally for the guys to get
into, and we know they're going to have some of those games,
but you have to win tight hockey games."
Great Weekend Getaway
Nebraska-Omaha at Miami
The Miami Redhawks proved their mettle
as one of the league's top-billed teams after dispatching
Ohio State twice in a home-and-home series last weekend.
But don't count out the Mavericks, who are looking
to prove themselves a worthy contender after losing
scoring machines Bill Thomas and Scott Parse in consecutive
This matchup presents an intriguing
combination of offensive firepower and reliable goaltending
which might result in a career night for either or
both goaltenders or a barnburner which won't help
Miami's Jeff Zatkoff or Nebraska-Omaha Jerad Kauffman
in their goals against averages, which currently sit
first and second in the league.
While You're There: Take a trip
down the road to Cincinnati and get yourself some
Skyline Chili. It seems as though fall is finally
here to stay in the Midwest, so it's not a bad way
to warm up. And if you're still around on Sunday check
out some of the National Football League's rowdiest
fans at Paul Brown Stadium for a rivalry match-up
between the Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
to former Michigan Wolverine and current Los Angeles
Kings forward Michael Cammalleri, who was the NHL's
Maurice Richard Award front-runner as of Wednesday.
The trophy is awarded annually to the league's leading
goal scorer. Cammalleri scored 10 goals in the Kings
first 10 games, two more than anyone else in the league.
It's also worth noting that former Michigan defenseman
Jack Johnson notched the first goal of his young career
last Friday night.
hate to pick on a team whose coach is in his first
weekend, the Alaska Nanooks are the only CCHA team
without a win or tie after being swept in by in-state
rival Alaska-Anchorage in the first of two two-game
legs in the Alaska Airlines Governor's Cup. The sweep
marked the first time in 11 seasons that the Nanooks
opened up 0-2 — a rough start for new coach
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• While there's always talk of forming
a Big Ten hockey league, it's perpetually written off as
unlikely while only five of the 11 schools currently field
a hockey program. Nevertheless, Ohio State could take a
large stride to winning an unofficial Big Ten crown when
they travel to the Twin Cities to face Minnesota. The Buckeyes
knocked off Wisconsin at the season-opening Lefty McFadden
Invitational and skate against Michigan and Michigan State
in league play. Each of the five teams skates against the
other four this season.
• Although football was the featured
attraction at last weekend's Western Michigan homecoming
in Kalamazoo, a strong performance by the Broncos lifted
the alumni's hangover after a last minute drive gave Ball
State a victory on the gridiron. Western's icers came out
slowly, but goaltender Riley Gill led them in a 3-1 victory
over Bentley with 33 saves.
• The Maverick Stampede seemed an appropriate
name for Nebraska-Omaha's season-opening tournament. After
rolling over the University of Manitoba in Friday's tournament
opener, the Mavericks slammed Alabama-Huntsville with three
third period goals in a 5-1 victory in the Stampede Championship
• Positive results have been few and
far between for the Bowling Green Falcons over the past
few seasons, and a league-opening home loss to Notre Dame
on Tuesday shows they're not quite ready for the big time,
but the team showed some sparks on its opening roadtrip.
The Falcons lost to Niagara 2-0 on Friday before downing
RIT 5-3 the next night. Captain Derek Whitmore accounted
for two goals in the victory, once again marking him as
the man to watch in Bowling Green
• For all the returning firepower in
the CCHA, after a handful of games to open the season, it
is Notre Dame freshman Ben Ryan who sits atop the league
scoring race. Ryan has notched 1 goal and 5 assists in his
first five games for the Fighting Irish, but is far from
running away with the race, as four players are tied with
• Beginning the season with two series
against non-conference foes Union and Wayne State, Ferris
State has really been spreading around the offensive wealth.
The Bulldogs have scored nine goals in their opening four
games and each of the nine has been scored by a different
player. In all, Ferris has 24 points on the score sheet,
and 15 different players have scored at least one point.
• In Sault Ste. Marie, one question
was just how solid the Lake Superior State net would be
without all-world goaltender Jeff Jakaitis in town anymore.
So far, junior Pat Inglis has stepped in adequately, holding
a 2.90 goals against average and making 58 saves in two
games. Unfortunately for Inglis, the Lakers have struggled
on the offensive end, and he has only a loss and a tie to
show for it.
• While there was a lot of turnover
in the off-season, Northern Michigan coach Walt Kyle had
to expect more from his special teams units than he has
seen thus far. The Wildcats lost to Michigan on a short-handed
goal in the waning seconds of the third period last Saturday,
and gave up two power play goals to the Wolverines one night
earlier. In all, Northern Michigan has given up 7 power
play goals in just 25 attempts.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. James V. Dowd can be reached